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Beating the GMAT: Intelligence is Insufficient

April 8, 2014 by

Ping pong playerUndoubtedly, the GMAT can be a frustrating test to learn how to beat. Most who find themselves in battle with it end up following a red herring by questioning what the heck this test has to do with business. Entertaining this line of inquiry is a fool’s errand and takes the focus off the necessary work. Further, getting distracted by a why-do-I-have-to-what-does-this-have-to-do-with-anything mindset constructs cognitive walls that impede progress.

Rest assured: the GMAT is a valid and useful tool for assessing your business school application package. If you want more information as to the how-and-why of GMAT validity, read this and this or go here. Despite the legitimacy of the exam, I always like to offer brief comments to my students regarding the relevance of GMAT questions and tested skills to managerial acumen when the opportunity arises. The reactions I get are seldom revelatory, but I like to sow … Read full post

Spring Study Tips for the GMAT

March 20, 2014 by

Today is the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere. This marks the beginning of spring, which is a great time for change and celebration – and for us to share some study tips for the GMAT.

Springtime Studies

When we think of the spring, we think of new beginnings. The trees and flowers are waking up (for better or worse, where allergy sufferers are concerned), the birds and frogs start singing again, and we’ve got new, longer hours of daylight now that we’ve changed the clocks. I’ve got a tray of seedlings going, and the tomatoes, basil, and okra are starting to poke their heads out of the soil, reminding me that it’s time to start new things.

Use this time of year to restart or kick-start your GMAT studies, if needed. Are you stalled out, slacking, or just plain burned out? Take a cue from the verdant vernal changes … Read full post

GMAT Critical Reasoning Practice Question & Explanation

March 6, 2014 by

You may not love doing GMAT Critical Reasoning practice, but it’s good for your score. We initially posted this stimulus and question on Facebook – give it a try:

While the average American reads only two books per year, researchers have recently concluded that by reading  two books per month, people can expect their memorizing capacity to double. The most effective way for Americans to begin to read two books per month – thus increasing their memory capacity – is to support Proposition 75, which will require students to read at least two books per month beginning in 2nd grade and through their senior year of high school. 

Which of the following can be most properly drawn, if the statements above are true, about future reading habits and memorization capacity?

  • A)  If Proposition 75 passes, all teen-agers will see a significant increase in their ability to memorize for tests.

Read full post

GMAT Strategy and Time Management: When to Guess

February 24, 2014 by

Guessing on the GMAT is a painful decision – especially for advanced test takers.  In the past, sometimes you were punished for guessing (like on the SATs) and sometimes you were made to feel like you weren’t fully prepared (remember college Spanish classes?). However, on the GMAT, while you want to minimize the amount of guess you do, realize that having a guessing strategy in place is important.  A guessing strategy is more important in the Quantitative sections since most test takers have a more difficult time finishing that section.  However, it is also important not to lose track of time on the Verbal section.  For sound GMAT strategy, primarily there are two distinct times when you want to guess:

When You Don’t Know the Concept

Let’s face it, on GMAT Test Day, you have a chance of forgetting one of the many equations you have memorized.  Additionally, sometimes … Read full post

GMAT Study Tip: Slow Down to Improve

February 21, 2014 by

A great GMAT study tip is what I call The Slow Down Paradox: going slower on the GMAT can make you faster.

Recently, one of my GMAT tutoring students, an engineering undergrad at Penn, hit the test prep wall.  After a couple of months of study he was consistently scoring 670/680 on weekly practice tests, but he needed to do significantly better to qualify for Wharton’s sub matriculation program.  This student was a bright guy and a typical engineer, accustomed to attacking challenges and blowing through them.   His problem was quant – all kinds of quant.  This was surprising since, in our sessions together and his homework, he demonstrated mastery of high-level content and methods. But something was falling apart under test conditions. Together, we analyzed his situation and soon saw a pattern.  Specifically, he was making preventable errors, misreading the problems and falling into traps.  Meanwhile, he was regularly … Read full post

GMAT Question of the Week: Data Sufficiency and Averages – The Explanation

February 13, 2014 by

GMAT Data SufficiencyIf you haven’t already, visit our GMAT Data Sufficiency and Averages practice problem and give it a try on your own before reading the explanation.

To get this question correct, you must combine your knowledge of fundamental math concepts with use of the Kaplan Method and strategies for approaching Data Sufficiency and Averages. Here’s a breakdown:

The average formula is

 

The average of m and n is  

 

The question stem asks  “Is  ?”

 

Remember, with a Yes/No Data Sufficiency question, you are looking at the statements and trying to determine whether they provide a consistent YES or NO answer to this question. A consistent answer of yes OR no is sufficient. An inconsistent answer (yes and no) is insufficient.

 

Statement (1): Sufficient. This statement says that

Pull the 3 out of the numerator to get  

Multiply both sides by 2 to get  

Then divide both sides … Read full post

GMAT Data Sufficiency and Averages

February 11, 2014 by

Who’s afraid of a little GMAT Data Sufficiency and Averages? Not you! Take this one step-by-step to get to the correct answer. Consider timing yourself to see how close you are to the 2 minute suggested average for GMAT DS questions.

GMAT data sufficiency

Post your answer here in the comments, or on Facebook. We’ll provide a full explanation of this problem in a couple days. Happy practicing!

Edit: The explanation has been added.

 

Using Common Knowledge on GMAT Critical Reasoning: The Solution

January 1, 2014 by

Did you try out last year’s Critical Reasoning practice question? Okay, it was really only a few days ago, but that was 2013, and we’re fresh into 2014. Let’s start off strong with breaking down this GMAT Critical Reasoning question in a way that will allow you to grab points on GMAT Test Day.

Solution

Step 1: Identify the Question Type

The direct wording in the question stem clearly indicates a weaken question.

Step 2: Untangle the Stimulus

The conclusion here is that companies employing overseas call centers will be more profitable than companies that do not. The evidence is that these companies save more with overseas call centers than do companies that don’t use them.

Step 3: Predict the Answer

The argument, however, assumes that all other elements of the businesses will remain the same. As we head to the choices, we should be looking for a fact … Read full post

How Do You Study for the GMAT? Part II: Individual Sessions

December 17, 2013 by

In my last blog entry, I addressed broad issues on how to schedule GMAT study time. Today, I want to talk more about individual sessions.

During each individual study session, it’s important to take periodic breaks. There is quite a bit of research to support spaced learning, which, in essence, means to set up to chunks of study time with short breaks built in. Give your brain periodic breaks to process the information that you are taking in. The frequency and length of your breaks can vary a bit; however, a 5-10 minute break every 25-30 minutes of studying is a good rule of thumb. Time of day can matter as well. Know your good times of day and try to study during those times in which you are most alert. There is research that suggests students learn best in the evening; however, know yourself and when you work … Read full post

How Do You Study for the GMAT? Part I: The Calendar

December 13, 2013 by

Studying for the GMAT is not something that most test-takers take lightly and is usually a commitment of 2-3 months or more. While most of you studying for a test like the GMAT often know what to study, you probably have many questions about how to study. Study schedules can definitely vary depending on your particular situation such as goal score, starting score, work schedule, school schedule, and family obligations, but, based on a long history of working with students and studying how we learn, here are some general rules of thumb to remember as you begin to form your personalized study schedule.

The first thing to know about studying for the GMAT is that this is not a test that you can cram for. Studying for the GMAT is like preparing for a marathon. You want to build up to test day with a plan that builds … Read full post

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